Sergey Prokofiev


ballet in three acts

Recommended age 6+


Libretto: Yury Puzakov based on the eponymous fairy tale by Charles Perrault
Choreography and staging: international and all-union competitions winner Yury Puzakov
Musical director: Honoured Artist of Ukraine Viktor Ploskina
Set designer: recipient of the Francysk Skaryna Medal, laureate of the State Prize of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Kostiuchenko    
Costume designer: Eleonora Grigoruk
Conductors:  Yuri Karavaev, Vladimir Ovodok

Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes with two intervals
Premiere: 5 December 2009


The action takes place at the beginning of the 20th century

Act 1

The pupils of a ballet school – sisters Disaster Girl and Grimace Girl – prepare for a dancing contest which will be held at the ball in the King’s palace. They are convinced that it’s a nice way to attract the attention of the Prince and, maybe, one of them will win his heart. The young ladies are polishing their pas at the ballet bar. Maman, the owner of the studio, is keeping a close eye on her daughters’ progress, setting and correcting the combinations executed by them. In a hall corner Cinderella is stoking the fire in the stove, she’s the step-sister of Disaster Girl and Grimace Girl. Maman, who holds her step-daughter for a servant, has piled all the household chores on her. Cinderella, who doesn’t know how to dance, watches the ballet lesson with veneration. She wants to learn to dance so much! She tries to repeat the movements, but they come out clumsy and ridiculous. Wishing to teach the ragamuffin, who has crossed the line, a good lesson, Maman, Disaster Girl and Grimace Girl cruelly punish Cinderella and show her her place – by the kitchen stove. An unexpected arrival of a Nun collecting the donations for the sick and needy stops the punishments. Maman and the sisters tell the Nun to leave the ballet studio. It is only Cinderella who gives her the only coin she has set aside for herself. Thanking the kind girl, the mysterious stranger disappears.

The preparations for the ball are in full swing. Outfitters, make-up artists and hairdressers are busily doing their job in the hall. Gowns are tried on, hairdos are coiffed, noses are powdered. An invited choreographer practices modern dance moves with the sisters. Everything is ready. It is time to leave for the ball! Cinderella shyly asks to let her take a peek at the festivities. But her request is roughly and arrogantly denied. Cinderella stays at home in bitter solitude. Dreaming of the ball, she tries to go through the dance routine, but it still looks clumsy and mundane. Tired from all the household chores, Cinderella falls asleep in exhaustion.

A figure of the mysterious Nun emerges on the stage, it turns into the magnificent Fairy Godmother. The fairy wakes Cinderella up and summons her girlfriends – Tsarinas of Dance. All of a sudden the characters from an engraving Pas de Quatre hanging on the wall of the studio come to life  and endow Cinderella with the basic ballet moves: “pas”, “cou-de-pied”, “jeté”, fouetté” . The Fairy Godmother who has taken Cinderella under her wing promises to make her dream come true: now it is she, the ragamuffin, who will perform in the dance contest at the King’s palace! Tsarinas of Dance deck Cinderella out in a dress of never-seen before beauty, and the Fairy Godmother gives her exquisite shoes covered in diamonds. Ecstatic, Cinderella holds the priceless gift to her bosom. She is all set to rush to the palace, but her doting guardian stops her. The fairy, handing Cinderella a pocket watch, instructs her to keep track of the time. She must leave the palace at the stroke of midnight, otherwise all the splendor will disappear.  A Page accompanies Cinderella to a fancy car, waiting for her…

Act 2

The Ball at the magnificent King’s palace is underway. The majordomo keeps a close check on the dancing of the courtiers and watches over the strict adherence to the order of the performance of all the figures. The King enters and all the guests bow in respect. Not seeing the Prince in the retinue, he orders to find him. The majordomo, to distract the King, invites him to watch a playful dance of the court ladies. At long last, fanfares announce the arrival of the heir to the throne. The Prince enters, supported by his friends; his unsteady gait confirms the rumors of a merry bash which lasted until the early hours. The widowed King, who worships the son, is ready to forgive all his “extravagant” tricks.

The dance contest begins. Disaster Girl and Grimace Girl are dangerous rivals. Each of them plants a “surprise” for the competitor: one has put pebbles in her vis-à-vis’ shoes, and the other has filled her sister’s dress with sheared hair. The sisters’ performance is a disaster … Music plays again. The attention of all the ladies is glued to the Prince. Maman’s pesky matchmaking attempts are in vain, they annoy the Prince and he seeks refuge in the milieu of his friends.

Unexpectedly, bright rays of light bathe the palace hall. A beautiful stranger appears in an aureole of magic light, her beauty transcends the other ladies. It is Cinderella! The Prince is fascinated by the young beauty. The gentlemen, overcome by a passionate desire to dance with the stranger, leave their partners. The mesmerized Prince also invites Cinderella to dance. The girl is enchanted by his virile comeliness. Spinning in a passionate whirlwind of dance, Cinderella stops for a moment and asks the Page to take the watch that was given to her by the fairy. In vain does he beg the girl not to leave it – the Prince carries Cinderella away into another round of dance, and the watch remains with the Page. At the end of the waltz the Prince falls to her feet -  it is love at first sight. The majordomo proclaims the continuation of the contest and asks Cinderella to do a turn. Her dance is so delightful that, on an enthusiastic impulse, the King awards the Golden Prize to her.

Refreshments are served in the hall – it is orange ice-cream. Having taken an excessive number of portions, the Stepmother and her daughters gleefully perform their dance. Their greediness and impudence cause numerous sneers in the hall. The prince asks for the pleasure of another dance with Cinderella. Their hearts are full of joy and happiness at the encounter,   Cinderella, overcome by emotions, completely loses track of time. She does not notice her Page who tries to warn her that midnight is approaching. The clock strikes midnight, and the beautiful world around Cinderella disintegrates, leaving beside the girl only a crowd of ugly beggars asking for a penny. Cinderella flees from the palace. The Prince follows suit, and picks up the shoe which she has lost. Having lost his love, the Prince sobs on his father’s chest…

Act 3

The Prince is in painful melancholy. Despite the proclaimed compensation, the search for Cinderella has appeared ineffectual. The prince does not give up and together with his friends continues the pursuit of the mysterious stranger. Having visited a number of countries, but not having found the one and only, the Prince returns to the palace.

Cinderella is at home. She is daydreaming about the encounter with the dashing Prince. Hearing the noise indicating the return of the stepsisters, Cinderella hides the shoe in a secluded place. They excitedly discuss their recent adventures and start to bicker and quarrel. In the heat of scandal the Disaster Girl finds Cinderella’s shoe, and Maman comes up with a plan of how to deceive the Prince.

The majordomo appears in the studio. He informs them about the pending arrival of the Prince who does not give up hope of finding the wonderful guest. Maman instructs the daughters to spruce themselves up – perhaps, they (or even she!?) can console the Prince. The Prince comes in. He is in a hurry, as there are so many ladies to be inspected for the right shoe size. Suddenly, Maman puts Cinderella’s shoe near her foot, ready to try it on. But the Prince does not fall for the deception, and wants to leave. Suddenly a Page appears in the room, attracting his attention he motions to the corner where Cinderella is hiding. The Prince’s heart beats wildly as it dawns upon him that he has finally found the one he has been searching for so long! Taking Cinderella’s hand, they leave for the palace. Maman and the daughters fight and wail in rage and envy.

Cinderella and the Prince, breathing as one, dance the wedding dance against the boundless vista of the starlit sky. The Fairy Godmother, watching over the lovers, accompanies them along the never-ending road of love and devotion.